YouTube continuously “listens” to their users, can organizations do the same for employees?

Millions of people around the world spend a good chunk of their day watching videos on YouTube. Clearly, there is a strong level of user-engagement. YouTube’s success can be partially attributed to an algorithm that they developed which tracks the type of videos a user watches, and subsequently feeds them similar videos. The key here is real-time tracking. By continuously listening to users’ digital consumption behaviors, it becomes straightforward to adjust to their needs, regardless of how it fluctuates on a day-to-day basis.  

Engagement in Organizations

            The nature of work is changing, and for the past two years, the abrupt shift in one’s work environment has greatly impacted many organizations. In particular, the transition from an office to working-from-home has left many employees exposed to unforeseen stress factors. In turn, this often led to a deterioration in psychological wellbeing, which ultimately resulted in a decrease in work engagement [i]. With sub-optimal levels of employee engagement, organizations are very likely to see decreased customer satisfaction, and more importantly, impacted profitability and a lower bottom line [ii]. According to LinkedIn, the numerical cost of employee disengagement is around 34% of their salary [iii]. If you do the math, just one disengaged employee will cost you $3400 for every $10,000 you pay them.

How can we measure employee engagement?

            The traditional method of gauging employee engagement can be derived from annual reviews. However, Forbes reported that annual reviews actually lower employee engagement [iv]. The issue with annual reviews is that infrequent feedback doesn’t often translate into actionable outcomes as they “focus on the past rather than how to improve in the future” [v]. In addition, annual surveys by themselves can be way too comprehensive for their own good. As a result, organizations often end up with too much data, which leaves behind too many problems and not enough resources for solutions [vi].

            Furthermore, when it comes to employee engagement, it doesn’t make­­ sense to track employee engagement on a yearly basis as fluctuations can occur on a weekly, and sometimes, even a daily basis [vii] [viii]. So, how can we account for the fluctuations and keep on top of our employees’ needs?

Pulse Surveys : Less is More

            If annual surveys are too long and infrequent, then the natural solution is to utilize shorter customized surveys that captures real-time data. A Pulse Survey is essentially a condensed but highly focused version of an annual review. It usually consists of a handful of short, but targeted questions that addresses the issue at hand. It provides a more streamlined approach towards identifying areas for improvement, allowing for more-actionable outcomes. Many organizations have seen steady improvements in engagement and productivity as a result of pulse surveys. For instance, by continuously listening to employees using pulse surveys, organizations can track how motivation changes over time and identify periods of downturn [ix].

What Now?

            If your organization has been struggling with keeping employees engaged and productive during this pandemic, perhaps it is time to check out pulse surveys. Using our proprietary online survey platform: MultiRater Surveys, you can easily build and customize a pulse survey that will address your organizational needs in a cost effective manner. For more information, please contact and one of our team members will assist you in finding out what continuous listening will look like for your organization.  


[i] Adisa, T.A., Ogbonnaya, C. and Adekoya, O.D. (2021), "Remote working and employee engagement: a qualitative study of British workers during the pandemic", Information Technology & People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

[ii] Chanana, N., & Sangeeta (2020). Employee engagement practices during COVID-19 lockdown. Journal of public affairs, e2508. Advance online publication.

[iii] Petrone, P. (2017) How to Calculate the Cost of Employee Disengagement. Retrieved from

[iv] Levine, S.R. (2018) Annual Reviews Lower Employee Engagement. Retrieved from 

[v] Buckingham, M. & Goodall. A. (2015). Reinventing Performance Management. Retrieved from

[vi] Kraut, A. I. (2006). Moving the needle: Getting action after a survey. In A. Kraut (Ed.), Getting action from organizational surveys: New concepts, technologies, and applications (pp. 1- 32). Jossey-Bass.

[vii] Sonnentag, S. 2003. “Recovery, Work Engagement, and Proactive Behavior: A New Look at the Interface between Nonwork and Work.” Journal of Applied Psychology 88 (3):518–28. 

[viii] Bakker, A. B., and P. M. Bal. 2010. “Weekly Work Engagement and Performance: A Study among Starting Teachers.” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 83:180–206. 

[ix] Power, B. (2016, May 24). Why John Deere measures employee morale every two weeks. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from